Community study builds on global sector strengths in health and social care innovation

Patients in Greater Manchester are taking part in a pioneering study as the NHS brings a new cholesterol-lowering injection into use, further emphasising the city-region’s strengths as a global centre for health and social care innovation.

The study is a collaboration between global health company Novartis, NHS England and Improvement, NorthWest EHealth, Health Innovation Manchester, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaborative (ARC) Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester-based organisations are collaborating as part of a new study involving 900 patients testing the implementation in primary care of inclisiran, a new drug to reduce LDL cholesterol. Up to 20 GP practices in Salford and Manchester will participate in the trial.

Building on the city-region’s frontier sector strength in health and social care innovation, Greater Manchester’s industry partnership with Novartis follows the signing of a first-of-its-kind ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) between Health Innovation Manchester (HInM) and the pharmaceutical industry in 2017.

The MOU aimed to create an environment for collaboration between industry and healthcare in Greater Manchester to improve health, create a sustainable healthcare system, address challenges within the system and unlock the region’s economic potential.

High levels of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol make people more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. 

Inclisiran, a first-in-class small interfering RNA therapy, received a licence from the European Commission in December 2020 following the results of a robust clinical development program.

Inclisiran also gained NICE approval on 1 September 2021, recommending the drug for people with high cholesterol who have already had a previous cardiovascular event to reduce their LDL cholesterol, which is a key risk factor for them having another.

Trials showed that inclisiran lowers the level of the fatty and harmful substance called LDL cholesterol found in the blood by using RNA interference (RNAi) to boost the liver’s ability to remove it from the blood.

Inclisiran is part of the first NHS “population health agreement” between the NHS and Novartis to make the drug available to thousands of NHS patients and increase the treatment options available to patients to help control their cholesterol levels. 

Chinmay Bhatt, Managing Director of Novartis UK, Ireland and Nordics and Country President UK, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to invest in and partner with Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester is in a prime position to collaborate, co-develop and accelerate innovative solutions to solve some of the city region’s more complex and chronic health needs.

“The study forms part of our broader population health management collaboration with NHS England and will provide valuable insights into the successful primary care implementation of inclisiran.”

Dr Tracey Vell, Clinical Director of Health Innovation Manchester, said: “Health Innovation Manchester and the Greater Manchester system are delighted to be partnering on this study which will allow us to identify at risk groups digitally, and then deliver innovative long acting cholesterol lowering therapy alongside other holistic care objectives.

“This is pioneering in many ways, including researching a population health approach for new pharmaceuticals, delivering them immediately in a primary care setting and looking at integrated delivery models with NHS England and Improvement and Novartis as partners. Through this we are hoping to deliver better outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease as well as care close to their home and community.”

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